Modern day classics

Pages

AuthorTopic: Modern day classics
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #25
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Tolkien didn't write any proper science fiction, did he? I thought he was strictly fantasy.

And yes, I agree that Orson Scott Card is one of the best writers of recent years.

EDIT: And if we define "classic" as "not stupid to reference as literature on a standardized test" (which, as far as I'm concerned, is good enough :P ), Tolkien, Clarke, and others are already there.

Would you consider all books that appear on standardized tests classics?

I can't remember any specifics right now, but I've seen some pretty odd ones in those questions. But then this was textual analysis for the SAT; you're not required (or even meant) to know where it came from.

--------------------
Encyclopaedia ErmarianaForum ArchivesForum StatisticsRSS [Topic / Forum]
My BlogPolarisI eat novels for breakfast.
Polaris is dead, long live Polaris.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #26
I meant for the student to use in the essay, not for the test designer to use on the reading passages.

They can't use anything that's still copyrighted (i.e., Tolkien) on the reading passages, so that's right out.

[ Monday, March 27, 2006 21:22: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6401
Profile #27
His Dark Materials , Philip Pullman. Awesome.

--------------------
I think this is really wonderful.
Posts: 147 | Registered: Tuesday, October 18 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3441
Profile Homepage #28
I forgot about those, but yeah they were good. The truth, however, is that while many of these books are great, I can't see them gaining the widespread acclaim in the future that people like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, and all of the other literary giants of the past hae achieved.

--------------------
"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." --Albert Einstein
--------------------
Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #29
*Inserts obligatory comment about the derivative and inertial nature of Robert Jordan's series here.*

"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe will likely make it. What about Barbara Kingsolver? It seems a number of people had good things to say about "The Poisonwood Bible." Also, in a way there are modern classics among us already - "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" springs to mind, as well as Orwell's works.

I wonder what percentage of Oprah's book list will end up modern classics?

EDIT: Ooo, also, I think it's likely that Douglas Adams will survive the test of time, though most likely for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as opposed to my favorite, "The Long, Dark Tea Time of the Soul."

[ Tuesday, March 28, 2006 07:08: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5410
Profile #30
My vote is for Anatoli Rybakov. Russian writer (obviously) most famous for his series detailing life under Stalin (Children of the Arbat, Fear, Dust and Ashes) but also Heavy Sand.

--------------------
"Dikiyoba ... is demon ... drives people mad and ... do all sorts of strange things."

"You Spiderwebbians are mad, mad, mad as March hares."
Posts: 687 | Registered: Wednesday, January 19 2005 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #31
How many of these books are actually from the last 20 years? 20 years isn't a very long time. Things Fall Apart is one of my favorite novels, but it's older, and so is most of the Hitchhiker's Guide series.

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5410
Profile #32
quote:
How many of these books are actually from the last 20 years? 20 years isn't a very long time. Things Fall Apart is one of my favorite novels, but it's older, and so is most of the Hitchhiker's Guide series.

Good Point. To nominate a (potential) classic we should be including publishing info. Rybakov's works (as listed earlier) were all published between 1987 and 1997, with the Trilogy being '90, '94, '97.

--------------------
"Dikiyoba ... is demon ... drives people mad and ... do all sorts of strange things."

"You Spiderwebbians are mad, mad, mad as March hares."
Posts: 687 | Registered: Wednesday, January 19 2005 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 3441
Profile Homepage #33
Twenty years was just a rough range, my reason for using that time interval is because some books from before that time could already be considered classics depending on who you ask.

--------------------
"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." --Albert Einstein
--------------------
Posts: 536 | Registered: Sunday, September 7 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #34
Even Ender's Game is from more than twenty years ago (just barely — 1985). Orson Scott Card has written other really good books within the time frame, though, such as Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (1996), although I'm not sure that they'll ever be as famous as Ender's Game.

Robert Jordan's first six or seven books of WoT are pretty classic, but the last three or four have just been milking the series for all it's worth. I still buy them when they come out in paperback, but I think he killed any possibility of being up there with Tolkien when he decided that he was just going to make as much money off of it as possible.

This is probably heretical, but I think that Michael Crichton compares favorably with some of the classic nineteenth-century pop writers — the ones whose books were serialized — and some of his work falls within the period: Sphere (1987), Jurassic Park (1990), Rising Sun (1992), etc.

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #35
The Crichton comparison makes a lot of sense to me. I've always hated Dickens.

I read Robert Jordan a long time ago, so it's possible I just didn't appreciate his work as well as I might today. But he seemed even further removed to me from the realm of classics than Harry Potter. Sooner would a camel fit through the eye of a needle, I say!

Edit:
It occurs to me that there are general classics, and more specific classics. Ender's Game, for example, is undoubtedly a classic in the world of SF (however you expand the acronym). But is it a more general classic? It seems kind of borderline.

Here's a question: what's the most RECENT book you can think of that is generally recognized as a mainstream classic?

[ Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:08: Message edited by: Slartucker ]

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #36
I suppose I should've said that RJ ended all doubt with the last several books, even for those who might've been tempted to put him up there with the greats for the first few books. I don't think that 1-5 of the Wheel of Time are really classics, either.

EDIT: After I did a little paging around on Wikipedia, the most recent book I've found that I think is considered a mainstream classic is Beloved (1987). I can't stand Toni Morrison, personally, but she has received so much critical success that I think it's fair to call this book a classic.

EDIT 2: Another possibility: Love in the Time of Cholera (1988).

[ Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:41: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 6652
Profile #37
quote:
Originally written by Thin Air:

His Dark Materials , Philip Pullman. Awesome.
You speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Philip Pullman himself is a bit wacko, though. He recently made a whole speech calling Narnia "a stain on children's literature" or somesuch because of the Christian-ness of the books.

And I thought Douglas Adams already was a classic... in any case he deserves it. Every book in the Hitchiker's series is stunning, except for So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, which is made up for by the mere presence of Wonko. The Salmon of Doubt is a superb read as well.

--------------------
But I don't want to ride the elevator.
Posts: 420 | Registered: Sunday, January 8 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #38
"Classic" generally requires at least one of three things: innovation, uniqueness, or standing head and shoulders above competition. It also tends to require non-SF writing, but we can overlook that.

Robert Jordan writes well when he doesn't bog down, but he doesn't write so well that he absolutely must be read to see what fantasy can be. He doesn't really do anything new, he just does it well. The same can be said for George R. R. Martin and many, many others. I'd even put Pullman in there. He's a great writer, but he's not immensely greater than anyone else writing like he writes.

Card is much closer to the original and unique. I'd put China Miéville in there too, although he has no chance at all at getting widespread recognition.

—Alorael, who has never really liked anything C. S. Lewis wrote. He's not a blight on literature by any means, but he also just isn't that good a writer.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #39
Of course, sometimes a classic is just a book that's in the right place at the right time. Witness The Castle of Otranto.

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #40
quote:
Originally written by Lines Composed On a Piece of Rye:


—Alorael, who has never really liked anything C. S. Lewis wrote. He's not a blight on literature by any means, but he also just isn't that good a writer.

I like The Screwtape Letters myself, but I'll never consider it a classic.
I suppose that Lewis was a much better theologian/philosopher and teacher than author.

I'd like to propose an author not yet mentioned: the not-so-beloved George Orwell. The novel that I'd specifically like to mention is 1984. Dated as it may appear, it is a timeless source of social commentary and philosophical thought.

--------------------
The Silent Assassin is watching you.

--------------------
-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6193
Profile Homepage #41
I'll agree with the opinion that Jordan and Martin aren't on a level with classic authors, their works are enjoyable but not really revolutionary. Is it really a requisite that a sci-fi cant be classic? How about Kurt Vonnegut (shudders).
Only requirement I can think of is that a classic must have over-elaborate symbolism and an underlying message. This is notably missing from Jordan and Martin, two popular sf writers who probably won't achieve classic status. It is, however; present in works by Vonnegut and Card, authors that would be considered classic.

--------------------
Guaranteed to blow your mind.

Frostbite: Get It While It's...... Hot?
Posts: 900 | Registered: Monday, August 8 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6489
Profile Homepage #42
quote:
Originally written by Lazarus:

Only requirement I can think of is that a classic must have over-elaborate symbolism and an underlying message.
I never noticed a lot of that in the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, or H.G. Wells, and yet works of each of these authors are considered classics.

--------------------
"You're drinking liquor because you're thirsty? How nasty is your freaking water?" —Lazarus
Spiderweb Chat Room
Avernum RPSummariesOoCRoster
Shadow Vale - My site, home of the Spiderweb Chat Database, BoA Scenario Database, & the A1 Quest List, among other things.
Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #43
Dickens wrote for the mass media. That explains alot about the length of those novels that were originally published in serial form chapter by chapter. Only some of his works are true classics like A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol. Others have obtained classic status from popularity.

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting review of H. G. Wells and his works. It said that he failed to get admitted for advanced studies in science. He took his revenge in War of the Worlds by having the Martians destroy that school. We got all that science fiction stories because he could go on in his original career choice.

Robert Jordan ruined WoT with the last few books. I knew it was going to be a long series, but it seems that nothing much is happening in world time versus book length. He could have had a classic series if he hadn't ruined it. I still have to read the last 2 books, but I've got better choices ahead.

Martin I've only read a bit, but I liked his style.

Orson Scott Card was best in Ender's Game, but after that I didn't like the others as much.

Unfortuneately most science fiction books are just churned out for the money.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6489
Profile Homepage #44
quote:
Originally written by Randomizer:

Unfortuneately most science fiction books are just churned out for the money.
That is not limited to science fiction, to be sure. :P

--------------------
"You're drinking liquor because you're thirsty? How nasty is your freaking water?" —Lazarus
Spiderweb Chat Room
Avernum RPSummariesOoCRoster
Shadow Vale - My site, home of the Spiderweb Chat Database, BoA Scenario Database, & the A1 Quest List, among other things.
Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #45
Orwell is already very much part of the classics. Along with 1984 and Brave New World I'd say A Canticle for Leibowitz has a place as the story of our grim future.

Vonnegut's also already a classic, but like most classics with speculative elements, he's not really considered speculative. Somehow time travel and aliens in Slaughterhouse 5 are acceptable literary devices in limited cases.

—Alorael, who doesn't believe in Sturgeon's Law. It's a terrible underestimation of the general crap percentage (GCP).
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #46
Originally written by Randomizer:

quote:
Unfortunately most science fiction books are just churned out for the money.
Originally by Tyranicus:

quote:
That is not limited to science fiction, to be sure.
Considering that money is generally tight for most authors and that publishing companies are businesses, this is not surprising. If there's money to be made, it will be made.

Edit: Added quotes and changed sig. Somehow, Dikiyoba isn't surprised to see that someone managed to get a post in before Dikiyoba.

[ Tuesday, March 28, 2006 17:34: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 148
Profile #47
I don't know if this is considered classic, but what about David Weber's "Honor Harrington"?

--------------------
My ego is bigger than yours.
Posts: 480 | Registered: Thursday, October 11 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #48
Weber's Harrington series is a sci-fi version of C. S, Forester's Horatio Hornblower series and just about any other military series looking at the rise to the top of a single character. It has some originality but it is derivative.

You have others like Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame with a group of fantasy roleplaying gamers sent into their game world with their memories and their characters abilities. They find out quickly that it's real and that the gamemaster was a mage on the losing end of a duel.

Jerry Pournelle has a few series on military themes but it's been a while since he's completed one. Some of them are derived from H. Beam Piper's work especially Gunpowder God that is also known as Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. Maybe the next time they reprint Piper's works they will get greater recogniton.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 3673
Profile Homepage #49
Blindness by Jose Saramago makes the cut (1995), as does Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987 -- and I'm not a fan, but a classic it is). But twenty years does not take us that far back. Some writers who have written books (including great ones) within the last twenty years also wrote books from before that period that are already "classics." I am thinking of Salman Rushdie's finest novel, Midnight's Children; two by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera); and one by Guenter Grass (The Tin Drum). Not to mention V.S. Naipaul (a really repulsive person), who will be remembered for A House for Mr. Biswas at the very least, and probably more.

Maybe a more appropriate question to ask is, "What are some classics written by still-living authors?" This would require us to consider such works as Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, which dates the whole way back to 1947.
Posts: 19 | Registered: Monday, November 10 2003 08:00

Pages